Medical devices

Protective gowns for medicine & care – use & health benefits

Protective gowns for medicine and care

When it comes to protective gowns, the name says it all: the task of this garment is to protect staff in nursing or in the medical field. Such protective gowns are available both as disposable products and as reusable products. In any case, it is a consumable in the fields of medicine and care: you have to constantly buy protective gowns and keep them in stock in sufficient quality and quantity.

Consider this when purchasing protective gowns

In efforts to avoid single-use products and to reduce the amount of waste, reusable gowns initially appear to be a cheap alternative. However, their preparation and disinfection involves a not inconsiderable amount of effort and is therefore associated with costs. It is important to include this in the planning when purchasing, in order to have a complete overview of the economic side of equipping personnel with protective gowns.

Medical protective gowns are part of the so-called personal protective equipment, abbreviated PSA. Their job is to protect, above all, from biological threats, that is, from blood, bacteria , fungi, and viruses , as well as from parasitic infestations .

ATTENTION: A common misconception is that the color of a smock is in some way indicative of its level of protection. However, this is not the case!

visitor smock

In the course of the corona pandemic, many relatives became acquainted with the so-called visitor coats when visiting seniors in nursing homes. These are usually disposable products, but they do not have to meet the standards for infection control gowns. The covering is intended to prevent the transmission of pathogenic germs between visitors and their relatives in the care facility. However, people using visitor smocks may find that there is a big difference in quality here:

  • How do the smocks close? Are the straps positioned so that they are easily accessible? Do the ribbons break when you try to tie a bow?
  • How do the cuffs close – too tight or too wide? If the sleeve cuffs are cut too tight, they uncomfortably constrict the blood in the wrist area; if they are cut too wide, the protective effect of the smock suffers.
  • How generous is the smock cut? Even for moderately tall people, does it only reach the thighs to save material, or does it cover the entire front? In the case of producers who only produce visitor coats in one size, differences in fit can be clearly identified: some are too short, others do not close completely enough in the back.
  • The material properties of a visitor’s smock can also vary greatly. If the material is of inferior quality, it is possible that tears will appear in the sleeve seam or even in the middle of the fabric as soon as you put it on. In the case of visitor’s smocks of inferior quality, the areas where the ties attach with which such a smock is closed particularly often tear out.

Since visitors to a medical facility or nursing home are not proficient in donning visitor’s gowns, it is important to choose models that ensure easy but safe handling. A torn gown or one that is only incorrectly closed means an unnecessary risk of infection.

Infection control gowns / surgical gowns / surgical gowns

Surgical gowns are available as disposable and reusable products. Anyone who purchases such surgical gowns should have a whole range of sizes ready for the staff so that all infection protection requirements can be fully met, even for particularly large or small employees. Most suppliers designate their sizes with the identifiers that are also common for outerwear , such as S = small, M = medium, L = large, XL = extra large and XXL = extra extra large.

In order for the surgical gowns to be able to develop their full protective effect, the entire front of the wearer must be completely covered. The material properties of the surgical gown must be such that it is durable and liquid-tight. (If necessary, the medical protective gown can be supplemented by a liquid-tight protective apron.) In addition, the gown must be tight and easy to close at the back. The long sleeves must end in well-fitting cuffs. Here it is important, in order to avoid restrictions in mobility, that the closure is not too tight, but not too loose either, so that there is no risk of infection .

Certain standards must be met for both single-use gowns and reusable gowns that are to be used as surgical gowns. These relate to five different parameters:

  • The resistance that the tissue can provide to prevent body fluids and blood from penetrating
  • The resistance that the tissue offers to viruses so that they cannot get through
  • Resistance to germs in liquids that are not allowed to penetrate
  • The resistance to germ-laden aerosols, which must not overcome the tissue even when they are predominantly liquid
  • The resistance to germs, which in the dry state must fail due to the protective effect of the fabric

Each of these five parameters must meet a specific standard for a protective gown to be classified as a surgical gown. Anyone who buys surgical gowns should therefore pay close attention to the standards with which the goods are marked.

In principle, infection protection gowns used in Germany must meet the DIN EN 14126 standard.

Shop protective gowns safely

In connection with the particular burdens on the market caused by the corona pandemic, there have recently been bottlenecks in the supply of medical protective gowns of sufficient quality. It is therefore advisable to order high-quality supplies in good time, i.e. before the smocks run out.

The Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices has issued special recommendations for clinical testing in connection with the approval of medical devices in Germany during the Covid-19 pandemic. These are intended to ensure that test products are sufficiently safe on the one hand and approved quickly enough on the other to be able to meet the increased demand with high-quality products.

The RKI has published detailed recommendations on which behavioral measures and which infection protection equipment are required when caring for Covid 19 patients. The protective gown with the corresponding standard and additional disposable apron [supplemented by disposable gloves, protective goggles and an FFP-2 or FFP-3 mask] are included. Adhering to the standards formulated by the RKI, both in terms of behavior and equipment, is of great importance in order to contain the Covid 19 pandemic and to protect patients, medical staff and nursing staff in an adequate manner .

In this context, IHK Nuremberg draws attention to the fact that due to the particularly high demand caused by the pandemic, special care is required when purchasing PPE. In an IHK webinar entitled “Protective clothing” , it is explained that the manufacturers are initially responsible for the proper condition of their products and the corresponding labeling. An importer’s duties are to ensure that the manufacturer actually delivers what it promises.

Guaranteeing this is not easy if the goods come from China, for example, and production conditions, for example, cannot be directly controlled. When purchasing PPE, especially from online retailers, caution is advised.

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.